It's relatively easy for a goaltender to win a lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week award. A goalie's saves are, after all, immediately apparent, easily quantifiable, and sometimes memorable. For a defender working in the flow of the game, the observation often needs to be a bit subtler. In the case of Maryalnd's Megan Douty who won the Big Ten women's lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week, a combination of those aspects of the game likely generated that recognition.
The quantifiable aspect starts with picking up a team high four ground balls and knocking down three caused turnovers - also a team high. Add in a draw control and that's a good day's work for any defender. But Douty's impact on the contest went far beyond those quantifiable stats.
The senior's work, particularly in shutting down any UNC attempt to attack from behind the net, and her ability to negate offensive threats in isolation against an attacker have to be closely observed. One also needed to watch closely to notice how Douty was also instrumental in the Terrapins' success on nine of 11 clear attempts.
Now, Douty would tell you that she's not alone and that she's only one piece in a unit that's comprised of Shanna Brady, Alex Fitzpatrick, Nadine Hadnagy, Alice Mercer, and Casey Pepperman - all great players in their own right. She'd tell you that it was the collective effort of this group that held the high powered North Carolina offense to only 16 shots.
She'd point out that Pepperman had four draw controls, second only to Taylor Cummings' five. She'd tell you how Alice Mercer used her speed to cut off several Carolina fast breaks. And these would also be true. What she won't tell you is how her capacity to function as a shut down one on one defender elevates the play of her defensive mates.
So, for the quantifiable and the non-quantifiable aspects of her performance, Megan Douty, has garnered a well-earned award and deserves a salute from all Terrapins fans. I'll be first. Congratulations, Megan.